LEXINGTON, Va. - Virginia Military Institute head lacrosse coach Jon Birsner has added two hires to the coaching staff for the 2015-16 season.
Named to the Keydet coaching staff are assistant coaches Tom Celentani and Brendan Schroeder. Celentani will serve as the head assistant while Schroeder is given the title of assistant coach.
“This is a great day for our program,” Birsner said. “These two coaches add a tremendous amount of knowledge and experience at the highest levels that will make an immediate impact on our players.”
Celentani comes to VMI after serving for two seasons as an assistant at Franklin Pierce University in Rindge, New Hampshire, coaching primarily the defenders and goalkeepers. His keeper, Don Denman, led the division in saves with 195 in 2013 while earning preseason All-NILA honors heading into the 2014 campaign.
The Levittown, New York native played at UMass from 2009-12 and started 44 games in a row over three seasons, helping the Minutemen to the 2012 Colonial Athletic Association regular season and tournament championship. UMass finished that season ranked No. 1 in the nation with a 15-0 record as he earned United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association (USILA) All-America honors, while also receiving scholar All-America accolades.
“I would like to thank Dr. Diles and General Peay for this opportunity to be a part of such a renowned institution,” Celentani said. “I would also like to thank Coach Birsner for choosing me to be his head assistant coach and give me this incredible opportunity. It is going to be a pleasure to work at an institution with such great people and tradition. It truly feels like the perfect fit for me.”
Celentani was selected in the Major League Lacrosse draft by the Denver Outlaws in the fourth round (30th overall pick) of the 2012 MLL Draft and then was selected to play for the Boston Cannons the following year. He graduated from UMass in 2012 with a bachelor’s degree in psychology before receiving a master’s degree in health administration from Franklin Pierce in 2015.
Schroeder arrives at VMI following a stellar collegiate career at UMass as a three-year starter in the defensive midfield. He posted six goals and nine assists during his career as well as 19 groundballs as a senior, earning the chance to play in the NEILA East-West All-Star game. Before enrolling at UMass, he played for one season at the Naval Academy Preparatory School under then-head coach Jon Birsner.
A multi-sport athlete in high school, the Deer Park, New York native was named Midfielder of the Year in the New York State Catholic League his senior year, and won two league championships. He was named the No. 49 Rising Senior by Inside Lacrosse in 2009 and was listed at No. 36 for the top midfielder in 2010. Brendan competed for Team Long Island at the 2009 Under Armour Games where they won the championship.
"I would like to thank General Peay and Dr. Diles for giving me this tremendous opportunity to be a part of the VMI community,” Schroeder said. “I would also like to thank Coach Birsner for welcoming me to his staff and I am extremely grateful for the chance to be working with him and these fine young men at such a prestigious institution.”
Brendan received a bachelor’s degree in sociology with a minor in education from UMass in 2015.